chapter  2
Robert Leach: MEYERHOLD AND BIOMECHANICS
ByRobert Leach
Pages 17

TH R O U G H O U T H I S C A R E E R , V S E VO L O D Meyerhold sought to trainthe brains and bodies of actors so that they would be able to participate in his lifelong quest for a theatre which would not attempt to reproduce the surface reality of living, but would be, rather, ‘theatrical’. Yet largely because of accidents of history, which cruelly silenced him and fortuitously aided the ideas of his mentor, colleague and ideological rival, Konstantin Stanislavsky, the significance of his quest is, even in the twenty-first century, rarely recognised or acknowledged. His contemporaries believed that he was Stanislavsky’s equal, and that this was as true for his ideas about actor training as about stage production. It is probably fair to say that virtually all those scholars, especially Western scholars, who have discussed his work since his ‘rehabilitation’ in 1955, have underestimated the importance of his pedagogy.2 But many of his ideas were preserved through dark times by his pupils, and his pupils’ pupils, who are now promulgating them energetically, and the time has perhaps come for a new assessment of Meyerhold’s work on training actors.